2015 Volume 61 Issue 3 Pages 179-184
Histone H2B monoubiquitination (H2Bub1) plays an important role in developmental regulation in various vertebrate species. However, the role of H2Bub1 in mammalian preimplantation development remains unclear. In the present study, we examined the role of H2Bub1 in the regulation of mouse preimplantation development. Based on immunocytochemical analysis using an anti-H2Bub1 antibody, no H2Bub1 signal was detected in the metaphase chromosomes of unfertilized oocytes or the pronuclei of early 1-cell stage embryos, but a weak signal was observed in late 1-cell stage embryos. The signal increased after cleavage into the 2-cell stage, and thereafter a strong signal was observed until the blastocyst stage. To assess the significance of H2Bub1 in the regulation of preimplantation development, RNF20 (an H2B-specific ubiquitin E3 ligase) was knocked down using small interfering RNA (siRNAs). In embryos treated with siRNA, the levels of Rnf20 mRNA and H2Bub1 decreased at the 4-cell and morula stages. Although these embryos developed normally until the morula stage, only one-third developed into the blastocyst stage. These results suggested that H2Bub1 is involved in the regulation of preimplantation development.